FRCOG taking on Hampshire County contract negotiations

  • Franklin Regional Council of Governments. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

  • One of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments’ largest programs is procurement of road paving. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/18/2019 9:36:32 PM

GREENFIELD — The Franklin Regional Council of Governments is expanding its regional reach now that the Hampshire Council of Governments has closed.

The HCG sold off its assets and transferred its programming to other entities like FRCOG, after announcing its plans to close in April.

Andrea Woods, chief procurement officer for FRCOG, said the Franklin County agency will be negotiating many of the contracts the Northampton-based agency was — like heating fuel, dog licenses and road services, to name a few — which means Franklin County towns will most likely see better prices and save thousands of dollars in the coming years.

“We do the highway bids, fuel bids, and even the dog license bids for many towns in Franklin County,” Woods said. “Now we’ll be adding Hampshire County towns to the mix, and that should bring prices down even lower.”

FRCOG has been contracting more than $6.5 million in highway purchases for Franklin County towns and about $1 million in fuel purchases. Woods said she expects those figures to double.

Ellen Batchelder has joined FRCOG as the assistant procurement officer, having transferred from Hampshire County. Woods said FRCOG is starting to look at all contracts and will be blending both Franklin and Hampshire counties as of fiscal year 2021, which begins on July 1, 2020.

“The local roads programs, for instance, will be under one umbrella,” Woods said. “We’ll be doing collective purchasing, putting all of the estimates together and working with the state on all of the paperwork. There’s a lot of paperwork, legwork that needs to be done, even with the smallest contract. Those are things a lot of smaller towns, and even some of the big ones, don’t have enough staffing to do. We’ll be the coordinators.”

Woods said once contracts are negotiated and bids are awarded, FRCOG will be the administrator of the contracts.

“If a town has an issue or question, Ellen and I will be looking into it for them,” she said. “It’s good to have her here for a number of reasons, but especially because she’s so familiar with the Hampshire County towns.”

Batchelder said she and Woods will act as advocates for all of the member towns — 26 in Franklin County and 24 in Hampshire County.

Batchelder said she expects that all member towns will see the biggest savings in the coming years on road salt.

“It’s very expensive,” Woods said. “But, every town needs it, so we should be able to get a good price next year.”

Woods said FRCOG also helps towns get the best price on dog tags and licenses, a smaller item, but it adds up.

“It’s a small purchase for most towns, but the printing of them can be quite expensive,” she said. “We get them a good price and save them some time.”

Woods said she and Batchelder will be working with town clerks, town administrators, water treatment plant heads and highway superintendents throughout the 50 towns over the next year and beyond.

“We work with water and wastewater treatment plants to get them the best prices on all of the chemicals they use,” Batchelder said. “They use a lot.”

The two said they will also be working with towns to negotiate contracts for elevator maintenance, fire services — like alarms and extinguishers — town vehicle purchases and schools in Franklin County. Hampshire County’s schools will be served by Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton.

Woods said the good news is Batchelder’s job was saved, so there will be continuity in Hampshire County and more help in Franklin County.

“Our (Franklin and Hampshire) programs were already very much aligned with one another,” Woods said. “Although we are sorry to see HCG have to close its doors, we believe that we can pretty seamlessly continue their purchasing program through FRCOG. We can also now offer to the Hampshire County towns some of the additional services we have been developing here in Franklin County, helping small towns accomplish complex procurements, especially in public building and public works construction.”

For more information about the types of bids FRCOG negotiates for towns and cities, visit: bit.ly/30D0L5T. Contact Woods and Batchelder by phone at 413-774-3167 or by email at bids@frcog.org.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.

 




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